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Running form and posture according to your Kenyan athlete and coach

March 20, 2020
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Photo by Dylan Alcock on Unsplash

As an online coach, I am at times asked questions by runners on how they can improve on their running posture and form. Some even accompany their questions with a picture of them side by side with some of their favorite runners they would like to run exactly like them.

My observation over time has been that form comes with one's speed and fitness level, and not the other way round. The faster you run, the better your form and posture will look. In fact, even in a crowd when everyone is just standing, a keen observer (like you!) can be able to easily tell a faster runner from a crowd.

“He looks fast. Is he a runner?” This was the question I heard a number of times when a friend who was hosting me in Canada was being asked whenever we would come across some of his other acquaintances.  I had gone there to compete in a few road races.

“I knew you were going to win this race having just looked at you at the starting line,” an Ethiopian runner did confess to me at the finish line after I had just won the Sporting Life 10km race in Ottawa in 2017.

In all these, I never ever practiced on how to look fast. Instead, I had trained on how to run fast and ended up looking fast in the process. This is exactly how it should be with the topic of running form and posture.

With the naked eye, one can tell when a runner is either running at a speed of about 22km/hr, or 10km/hr! One can watch a motorcyclist tackling a bend in a photo and tell whether it was moving at a slow or fast pace.

Having trained with the best road runners and world record holders for many years here, one thing I have observed among many of them is that they have not been focusing much on their running form and posture.

We don't usually train for running forms here in Kenya, and I am trying to apply the same principles to the runners I coach online. We believe that each person's body has its own form so it is not something we should focus on… just like the preferences that some runners have regarding minimalist, barefoot, flat, cushioned and other different kinds of shoes for their training, or on many other controversial topics regarding running.

However, in whatever form and posture one chooses to adopt for their running, there are a few techniques that will make one more efficient.

Be relaxed. Make sure that your shoulders are loose and your fists are not clenched. Do not exaggerate your stride length by trying to lengthen or shorten it, just let it flow naturally.

Running is natural and you do not actually need an expert to tell you that your head should be above your shoulders while running!

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